excerpts from Your Very Own in long con issue 1

Hi folks,

I may be a few days late blogging about this (the magazine came out FAST), but that doesn’t make me any less happy to be included in the inaugural issue of long con, a new online magazine of art about art spearheaded by Andy Verboom and Kailee Wakeman. Aside from the pleasure of being published by such conscientious editors, I’m also extra pleased to be featured next to more than a few artists and writers I deeply respect, including Annick MacAskill, Angie Quick, Trevor Abes, and others I’m too shy to presume to call friends. Of course, I’m sure the folks I don’t recognize by name have also contributed some excellent work (I’m excited to find out for myself once I can really sit down with the issue), so I wish you a fruitful romp through the magazine!

The pieces I’ve contributed are excerpts from Your Very Own, a visual and textual erasure of Choose Your Own Adventure #43: Grand Canyon Odyssey that is set to be released in full form with JackPine Press. I wrote a sentence or two about the project after the publication of another excerpt in tiny spoon this summer, and you can also check out a blurb about the project at its dedicated page at long con (although I would recommend leafing through the issue a bit, if only to steal ideas from its slick web design). So, I’ll let those links do the rest of the talking.

As always, happy reading!

 

An erased image from Your Very Own, showing a girl and a boy flying through the air.

 

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Two launches for Kevin Heslop’s there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria

Howdy everyone,

I’m coming in at the last minute with this post, but I’m here to celebrate two quickly upcoming readings with Kevin Heslop to help him launch his new Frog Hollow Press chapbook, there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria. Surely I’ve mentioned Kevin before… He’s a good friend of mine, probably now an old friend, who also happens to be one of the most thoughtful and hardest working champions of poetry and the arts in London, Ontario–and, more and more, Canada as a whole. Aside from that, he has been a dear companion to me during my time in and around London and in the years since (especially considering all the shit he put up with from me on our New Brunswick tour earlier this month).

Most importantly to you, Kevin is a fantastically daring and attentive poet with a broad and deep pool of influences. If I could try to summarize his writing, I’d say he has a unique talent for finding the bridges (or underground passageways) between intensely different aspects of experience. He’s also a fabulous reader, owing in part to his acting chops. This is his debut book. COME HEAR HIM READ. Also, I’ll be there.

Both of us will be at The Bookshelf in Guelph, Ontario tomorrow (Thursday, October 24) at 7pm, where we’ll be reading alongside another good and old friend of mine, Mike Chaulk. You can find details on the launch’s Facebook event page. Also, if you’re around The Bookshelf earlier in the afternoon, you should check out the AbleHamilton Poetry Festival‘s Guelph reading with Dominik Parisien and Annie Lepage (or just listen to Hymns57’s set on CFRU 93.3 FM at 1pm, which sounds absolutely amazing).

If you’re a Toronto folk, you can also catch me and Kevin (along with some other special guests, including the wonderful Concetta Principe) at knife | fork | book this Saturday, October 26 at 7pm sharp. Details here. Keep in mind that this is at k | f | b’s new space in Artscape Youngplace on Shaw Street (which, having just visited for the first time yesterday, I can tell you is one of the most engaging bookstore environments I’ve ever set foot in).

Whether it’s one reading or the other, I’ll see you there!

 

cover of Kevin Heslop's there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria

 

 

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New Brunswick tour (readings at UNB Poetry Weekend, Attic Owl Reading Series, and the Petitcodiac Public Library)

Hi everyone,

I’m posting today to pre-celebrate my first foray into New Brunswick (either as a poet or as a person), which I’ll be embarking upon next month from October 3rd to October 8th. Thanks to the unyielding acumen of superstar poet/critic and OG New Brunswicker Shane Neilson–as well as the enduring friendship of fellow poets Jim Johnstone, Kevin Heslop, and Jeff Kirby of knife | fork | book–I’m looking forward to a car ride crowded with poetry and pals.

We’ve got a few stops planned for our tour, and I’ll be reading at a few of them. The main event, of course, is the University of New Brunswick’s annual Poetry Weekend festival in Fredericton, which will feature us five Ontarians alongside a slew of other poets spread across two full days of readings (plus affiliated events, a house party, and who knows what else). Based on the Poetry Weekend stories I’ve heard in the past, I’m both excited and terrified, but odds are it’ll be a great time for most involved.

Before the weekend, though, I’ll also be reading at the Attic Owl Reading Series the day we drive into the province, October 3rd, in Moncton. Heslop and I are preparing some kind of collaborative set for the event (something about faith in the contemporary world–it’ll be good, I promise), and we’ll be reading alongside Neilson, Kirby, Danny Jacobs (who I still owe some in-person thanks for writing a wonderfully well-thought-out review of Players some years ago), and Claire Kelly (who I also had the pleasure of featuring with at Toronto’s Common Readings in the spring), plus musical guest Bruised Orange. If you’re around, or if you might be, check out the event here.

Finally, Neilson, Heslop, and I are also slated to read at the Petitcodiac Public Library in the afternoon of Saturday, October 5th (poster below). This is also thanks to the fine work of Danny Jacobs, who, you can probably guess, I’m pretty stoked to finally meet! Neilson and Heslop are fabulous presenters, and while I can’t speak for myself, I think it’ll be a pretty good reading.

Of course, my compatriots will also be engaged in other events over the extended weekend, but it’s a little beyond me to gather all the details here (and besides, Shane already summarized everything beautifully in his own post about the tour). In any case, whoever you’re thinking of coming out to see, I hope to catch you next week in the Maritimes!

 

poster for Writers on the River at the Petitcodiac Public Library (October 5, 2019)

 

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Excerpt from Your Very Own in tiny spoon’s erasure contest supplement

Hey all,

This post is a little bit delayed, but I wanted to write a quick note about my recent publication in tiny spoon‘s issue #2 erasure contest supplement. The title pretty much says it all, but I did want to take a second to thank the tiny spoon team for their generosity in accepting my submission, and for their efforts publishing and promoting my work alongside an excellent roster of experimental poets. As you can see below, the piece looks pretty swell, and I appreciate the editors’ dedication to incorporating writing that pushes the typographical norms of journal publication. If you can get your hands on paper copies of issue #2 or the erasure contest supplement, I’d highly recommend a look; otherwise, I trust they’ll be posted in pdf form on tiny spoon’s archive page in the coming months. (You can also take a look at the digital edition of issue #1, which is already there!)

 

excerpt from Your Very Own in tiny spoon erasure contest supplement: the anger / you post / all / over / is difficult to see. / worse, the ra ge / can / drown / you. You have to / grab hold of / and pull on each / wrong.

 

Your Very Own is a chapbook-length erasure poetry project I’ve been working on for some time. Without going into too much detail (the complete book comes with a context that’s quite different from that of the excerpt), the work is an erasure of text and images from the children’s novel Choose Your Own Adventure #43: Grand Canyon Odyssey, written by Jay Leibold and illustrated by Don Hedin. If you haven’t done so already, you can check out my Instagram (@selected.works) for a few more selections from the project.

I’ve spent the past few months working with JackPine Press to publish an edition of the chapbook, and the process so far has been incredibly exciting; consider the amazing bookworks the press has produced in the past, I can’t wait to see what a fully materialized version of Your Very Own will look like. While I don’t have a solid timeline for the publication just yet, let’s consider this a soft announcement. Stay tuned for details!

 

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Featuring at Common Readings, the May Edition

Hi all,

I know I’m a little late, but I wanted to take a second to shout out my feature reading at Common Readings TOMORROW (Monday, May 27) at Toronto’s Campbell House Museum. Common Readings has become one of my favourite series in the city; aside from excellent curation and great hosting by Daniel Renton and (tomorrow night) Alexandra Prochshenko, the series boasts one of the better venues in the city’s poetry landscape. I mean, who wouldn’t want to listen to poetry in a furnished and fancily wallpapered 19th-century historic house and museum? (I also heard there’s a photography exhibition mounted in the very room we’ll be reading in tomorrow. Plus wine and beer.) In any case, the Common Readings’ May Edition features Kern Carter and Claire Kelly alongside li’l old me, so it promises to be a good show. Again, it all goes down tomorrow night (Monday, May 27) at 7pm (although we tend to start a little late) at Campbell House, right by Osgoode Station.

 

Common Readings, The May Edition poster

 

Last month, Shane Neilson invited me to read with him at the Guelph launch of his new poetry collection, New Brunswick, and I think the whole mini-trip really reawakened my live reading itch. Aside from feeling the modest thrill of being on stage (or at least in front of an audience), seeing my friends and colleagues from Guelph and London reminded me of the importance of building community around poetry…. Though I also realized it can’t just be any community; it has to be a community that reflects and refracts my own approaches to the medium, which means it has to be a community I contribute to with my own voice. I’ve been pretty cynical about the arts and literary scenes recently, but I’m hoping I can bring some of my more affirmative energy to tomorrow’s reading. At the very least, I hope to inch a little closer to fearlessness.

I also hope to see you there. But either way, happy reading, and happy listening!

 

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Review of Brian Kim Stefans’s Word Toys in Chiasma 5

Hi all,

Normally I like to keep my academic and non-academic work semi-separate, but I thought I’d share an academic book review that might be of interest to any experimental poetry connoisseurs reading the blog. My review of Brian Kim Sefans’s Word Toys: Poetry and Technics has just gone online as part of Chiasma: A Site for Thought, a scholarly journal published by some of my friends at Western University’s Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism. The review appears near the end of Chiasma‘s fifth issue, “To Be a Body?”

I enjoyed Word Toys deeply. Stefans is unique in that he is equally attentive to both experimental poetry and continental philosophy, rarely shortchanging one for the benefit of the other. Of course, these topics are both also of special interest to me, so I found it incredibly fruitful to read such a rich take on their intersections. Perhaps you will, too?

 

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Review of Through Lines in Border Crossings 149

Hi folks,

I just wanted to write a short post to reflect on my review of Through Lines, a group exhibition presented by Koffler Gallery and Critical Distance Centre for Curators last fall. The review is featured in the “Crossovers” section of the most recent issue of Border Crossings, which is now available both in print and online, here.

I don’t have too much to say about the review, but I did want to thank the editors of Border Crossings for accepting my pitch. I visited the exhibition several times last year, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps more importantly, though, the exhibition’s central theme of redaction gave me a chance to try applying some of my PhD research on erasure to a different artistic genre and a different mode of writing. I’d like to say the experiment was successful, but in any case, I am grateful for the opportunity to carry it out.

Of course, publishing in a magazine like Border Crossings is also huge step toward expanding my art writing portfolio, which I hope to continue developing over the coming months and years. Hopefully you’ll see more writing like this from me soon. Until then, happy reading!

 

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Review of JC Bouchard’s Borderline Definitions

Hi folks,

I just found out yesterday (from a friend’s very kind email, in fact) that my review of JC Bouchard’s Borderline Definitions has just been posted on The Town Crier! Many thanks to Jason Freure and the other folks at the bloggy appendage for working to make this as strong a piece as it could be–and, of course, for putting it out into the world.

The piece isn’t so much a book review, actually, as a reflection on the launch event and the too much time I’ve spent at dark, loud Toronto readings with JC and the rest of the scene’s tireless regulars. I’ll let the rest of the review speak for itself, but now that I’m on my own blog, I wanted to add a footnote that ended up being cut from the final piece. In short, this is at once my gesture to the people who make this scene memorable to me, and my apology for not gesturing to them more directly:

Though I considered naming some of the many folks who have made this community so vibrant and impactful, I realized that there are simply too many, and that any decisions about who to include or exclude would only reflect a kind of hierarchization (not to mention bias) that simply doesn’t fit. Instead, I hope their honour will be served by my attempts to articulate the soul of the community they built and continue to build.

And that’s that. If you’re a friend who knows these readings well, I hope you’ll forgive me. If you’re a reader, happy reading!

 

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Emerging Arts Critics programme update

Hi all,

Toward the end of last year I wrote an extensive post about the Emerging Arts Critics programme and my participation in it, and I’d like to start by referring you there if you haven’t read it.

Just last night I attended the final performance of the 2018/2019 programme, The National Ballet of Canada’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And just this morning, my concert report on the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of Shostakovich, Langgaard, and Bartók–which is also my final contribution to the programme–was posted on The WholeNote’s website. I’d really like to thank the WholeNote staff for making the piece what it is, considering my relative naivety when it comes to classical music. I’d also like to thank them for coming up with an excellent headline for the piece–you don’t even want to know what the old one was.

Overall, this seasons’ programme has been a wonderful experience. I’ve become even closer with my fellow reviewers since last fall, and I’m already looking forward to staying connected with them in the future. I also can’t help but reflect on how much I’ve learned from the editors and mentors the programme put me in touch with. It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve had such experienced and insightful eyes take a good, hard look at my writing, and the past several months have reminded me how crucial that kind of feedback is. All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the program; this is what I love about being a writer.

If you have any interest in opera, ballet, or classical music, I hope you can get something out of it, too. And, as always, happy reading!

 

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Print Run of The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis: A Selection

Hi everyone!

I’ve written before about The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis: A Selection, a multi-year conceptual/visual/appropriation poetry (?) project that was also the first subject of my Instagram feed. Now that it’s been through a few iterations, I’ve decided to return to some earlier ideas for extending the project and do a print run of complete, 142-page copies. While I had the opportunity to print some mock-ups of the book some years ago (hence the photo below), this time around I’m making enough for distribution–albeit a rather limited distribution, since this is conceptual poetry, after all!

Details remain TBD, but most of the print run, I think, will go toward a guerrilla art distribution campaign with the goal of seeding Toronto’s literary landscape with a healthy does of these intricately confounding psycho-analytic book objects. However, I also want to take this chance to make sure that anyone who wants a copy for themselves gets one, since I doubt they will ever be printed again. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a few interested book fetishists contribute some financial backing to the print run (which is coming out of my own pocket, by the way).

So here’s the deal: for $20 (CAD) plus the cost of shipping, I’ll reserve you a copy of The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis: A Selection and send it your way as soon as soon as they come off the press. Since I have no long-term book-selling plans, the transaction will be somewhat informal, but please don’t hesitate to email me at j.m.nyman2@gmail.com to reserve your book or ask me any questions. I’m friendly, I promise!

What’s most important on my end is that anyone who wants a copy lets me know as soon as possible, so I can make sure I print enough! If you don’t reserve yours, I might still have some leftovers later on, or you might be lucky enough to find one washed up at a used bookstore or library…but I can’t guarantee it!

 

The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis: A Selection (back cover)

 

While the full printing has yet to take place, I’ve just confirmed that I’ll be doing the print run with the Toronto Public Library’s Asquith Press, which is, in effect, a giant contraption (pictured below) called an Espresso Book Machine. I got to see the machine in action when I printed the mock-ups, and it is pretty amazing: basically, it completes the entire task of printing, trimming, and binding paperback books within a single, fully-automated process, complete with robot arms and hot glue. The folks at the reference library’s digital innovation hub charge quite modest fees to print books with it, especially if your print run is small, so I would definitely recommend it to any aspiring book-with-a-spine-makers.

 

The Espresso Book Machine at the Toronto Public Library's Asquith Press

 

As you might expect, I’m pretty excited to start this thing running. Until then, happy (non-)reading!

 

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